Hope Wissel

More Thoughts on Bullying

Last night while I was at my part-time job, I overhead a co-worker telling the story of an incident that happened in her daughter’s pre-school.  Yes, I said PRE-SCHOOL.

It seems that her daughter has a favorite pair of boots, they are pink and she wears them a lot as well as a favorite blanket that she likes to take when she naps.  One of the boys at the school teases her, calls her names and torment her by trying to take her blanket.  When she cried, she was told to just “ignore him”.  I listened to the mom talk about how she didn’t want to cause a problem at the school or with the other child’s parents since it was just pre-school.  She did talk to her daughter about how children can be mean at which point a child’s favorite question “why?”.  On the surface or in the past, as parents and/ or teachers, we would just brush it aside and say “kids will be kids” but this is bullying.  

I think back to a time in my life when my family moved from the first home I grew up in to a “new” bigger home.  I think I was in 5th grade, and I definitely did not want to move. I remember going on vacation with my grandparents and returning to a new home with new bedroom furniture – all kind of exciting. Then I had to go to school!  UGH!  A new neighborhood but the same school district.  Different bus, new kids a lot of whom were the “popular” kids or the “nerds”.  I never really felt like I fit in.  The popular kids were mean – visions of the movie “Mean Girls” comes to mind.  I made friends with one girl in the neighborhood but all of my other friends were in other parts of the township.  As I think back, I was bullied – made to feel like I didn’t belong, not invited to many of the parties in the neighborhood and just a general lack of confidence developed in me that has haunted me for years especially when needing to step out of my comfort zone.  A desire “to be liked” set in and created years of turmoil.  Did I think I was being bullied?  NO!  Did I tell anyone?  NO!  On the surface I was a normal child but on the inside there were many ghosts.

I share all of this because “bullying” comes in many forms and effects everyone differently.  For some, it creates low self-esteem or the need to be accepted.  For others, they withdraw and become depressed.  While for others, they hide their feelings and learn to cope with the bully and the situation.  Maybe if we started talking to our children when they are younger (pre-school age) about being nice to one another – you know “treat others like you would want to be treated”  we could effect a positive change in the lives of our children.

Check out We’re Kickin’ It – AntiBullying Program.  Kickin’ It® is created to empower & inspire childrens’ creativity, imagination, self expression, passion, dreams and aspirations, positively impacting them to overcome negative obstacles that would inhibit them from developing into strong, independent, healthy functioning members of society.   

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!